HUNT: The man I never knew | Opinion | rapidcityjournal.com – Rapid City Journal
June 19, 2022
It was the third cemetery I had walked through in less than 24 hours. While visiting the state where my grandparents lived, the passing of time lead me to where snapshots of my childhood were now tucked within the granite speckled grass.
My mind flash-danced through memories as I walked.
The laughter of my handsome uncle who I was certain I would grow up to marry until he passed away as a result of a truck accident.
My aunt’s impish smile and her black cat-eyed glasses that were popular in the 60’s. She brought a new word into my vocabulary and world – Cancer.
My grandmother whose kind, gentle hands taught me how to paint, decorate cakes and see the magical, spiritual side of life- and death.
My cousin, one year older than me, that shared my memories of homemade ice cream on our grandparent’s porch and reminded us all that life can end with one attack to the heart.
The man I called Grandad. It was a name that fit. He was tall, gentle, quiet and grand in the way he blended strength and kindness. My dad was 4 when Grandad came into his life and took over the role his dad had left vacant.
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Now, on my third stop, I searched for a name that held no memories for me. No snapshots of the past. I searched for the man who passed away from tuberculosis when my dad was 9 months old.
Up and down the grass I walked. Then in the area marked by a crumbling post that once read, Section 3, I found a simple flat stone.
Loren Franklin Hunt
I am not sure what I thought I would feel or learn from this discovery. I am not sure if I expected a connection of heart or spirit. I was sure that I needed to, in some way, meet the man I never knew- yet without him fathering my dad I wouldn’t be here. I needed to feel the same love and respect for him as I did all the others I had visited in the grass that day.
I stood a long time to study his name. I wondered what his laugh sounded like; what his smile was like; what his hands felt like as he held my newborn Dad; and I wondered if he was as grand in his strength and kindness as the man who stepped into his shoes.
Life repeats in serendipitous ways. When my son passed away, also at a young age, he too left a 9-month-old child, my granddaughter. As I stood there, I realized why I had been driven to find the marker of a man I never knew.
It was for him.
It was for my dad.
It was for me.
It was for my son.
It was for my granddaughter.
I closed my eyes and sent a wish of hope that someday someone will share love and respect for his life and the generations that followed him. I closed my eyes and sent a wish of hope that someday someone will care enough to search in the same way I did for the name of a man they never knew.
Pennie’s Life Lesson: Love doesn’t stop when you leave this life. Send gratitude to all who came before you.
Pennie Hunt was born and raised in Rapid City. She is the author of the book, “Love Your Life- NO MATTER WHAT -76 Tips to Journey Through Grief and Loss” and the book, “Love Your Life- NO MATTER WHAT -76 Tips to Live Life With Love and Gratitude.” She writes the blog, “From the Corner of Spirit & Brave.” She is a professional speaker and member of the National Speakers Association. www.PennieHunt.com Email: [email protected]
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